I Don’t Believe in Advice

I don’t believe in advice. So when someone comes to me and says, “I need advice,” what I think they’re really saying is, “I need love.”

And offering love looks a lot like being quiet, listening, empathizing, and letting someone talk long enough until he/she discovers that they already know the answer they’re looking for.

The thing is, we each hold the answers right inside of us. Sometimes, people simply need a safe place and some time to discover what they already know. So I think offering advice is essentially just trying to hold that space and time for folks in need.

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The Pattern of Personal Growth

Have you ever noticed how your greatest moments of personal growth occur?

There’s a pattern to it, I’m convinced.

First, a challenge. A challenging life circumstance or situation. Something comes at us sideways when we least expect it. A loss. Break up. Health problem. We don’t feel equipped to handle it, yet somehow we do. We’re faced with an obstacle and we pull through.

But we haven’t grown yet.

Next comes vulnerability. We share our experience of this challenge with another person. In all of our raw honesty, we open ourself up to another. We share in our weaknesses and by doing so, we experience vulnerability.

Then we reflect. Only after a difficult challenge and shared vulnerability, can we pause to really reflect about what exactly we’ve just been through. What we’ve grown through. How we’ve grown. And in our reflection, finally, our great moment of personal growth arrives. Clothed in compassion and humility. Void of all judgment. An “Aha” moment.

Challenge. Vulnerability. Reflection. In that order.

I believe that all of our greatest personal growth experiences follow this pattern.

10 Things You Didn’t Know About Exceptionally Creative People

I recently completed Dr. Keith Sawyer’s book, Zig Zag: The Surprising Path to Greater Creativity. I highly recommend it for anyone interested in the subject or curious about how to enhance their own creativity. (Visit his blog at keithsawyer.wordpress.com) In Zig Zag, Dr. Sawyer outlines a variety of exercises and tactics to help you along the creative process. He also provides valuable insight into the nature of the creative process itself. In his book, I learned some surprising things that exceptionally creative people all have in common. Below I have listed 10 things that you (probably) didn’t know about exceptionally creative people.

exceptional creators

  1. Exceptional creators sleep more hours than the average person. (Harvard researcher Jeffrey Ellenbogen found that after sleep, people are 33% more creative!)
  2. Researchers have found that people who have lived in more than one country (multinationals, biculturals, immigrants ect.) are more creative.
  3. Exceptional creators aren’t born that way. Creativity is close to 80% learned and acquired (according to Hal Gregerson, a professor at INSEAD Business School).
  4. Successful creators are curious by nature. They ask questions and listen closely to the answers, even when the information has no obvious relationship to what they’re working on at the moment. In other words, exceptional creators are experts at “connecting the dots”.
  5. Exceptional creators are masters of the discipline of play, the ability to imagine and envision possible worlds and alternate realities.
  6. Most exceptional creators are working on multiple projects at a time. (They’re using these various areas of focus to make even more connections and thus advance their work!)
  7. Creative people are exceptionally self-aware. They are constantly reflecting on what they’re doing at any given moment and they’re constantly listening to themselves.
  8. Creative people work harder than most other people, usually at researching and acquiring new information. Paradoxically, they also take more time off.
  9. About 25% of the world’s most exceptional creators engaged in the creation of elaborate imaginary worlds as children. (So think twice next time you want to make fun of someone’s “imaginary friend”! 😉
  10. Exceptional creators make a conscious effort to introduce change into their lives, or to put themselves in situations in which they’re more likely to experience the unexpected.

How to Fail Successfully

What is the difference between failure that leads to innovation and failure that leads to… more failure?

What does it mean when people say, “That was a successful failure”?

The answer, researchers believe, lies not in the failure itself but how we recall it or, more precisely, how we store it. Successful failures are those people who remember exactly where and how they failed. This way, when they encounter the same problem again, they’re able to retrieve these “failure indices” quickly and efficiently. They don’t make the same mistake twice.

It seems that the advice we were given as children when confronted with failure, “Just forget it and move on” is wrong. “Remember it and move on” is the way to success.

The guiding principle for “successful failure” is the scientific method. Fail until something works. It’s about failing in a thoughtful and efficient manner. Failure can be a wonderful learning experience as long as it’s in the aid of some continuing process. The important thing is to fail early. Kill the ones that aren’t working right away.

fertilizer failure

Think of failure like fertilizer. It must be used by a skilled farmer, otherwise it is useless and smells bad.

Why Nice Guys (and Girls) Really Do Finish Last

Have you ever wondered why you’re always the first to apologize after an argument, even when you know you’ve done nothing wrong? Are you baffled by the fact that the manipulative guy who sits next to you at work got the promotion when you didn’t, even though you know you deserved it? Why are you the one who was always bullied at school? Why have you once again allowed your “friend” to borrow money knowing darn well they will never pay you back? I think we have all, at some point or another, asked ourselves these questions. The fact is, in our rapidly changing world, nice guys (and girls) really do finish last.

It’s been a hard realization for me to come to. The world isn’t a nice place. Sure, it’s lovely and certainly, it can be romantic, but nice? Hardly. As a self-proclaimed nice girl in my mid twenties, I’m just now learning to face this difficult reality and I sincerely believe it’s one of the most important truths we have to face coming into adulthood.

I’ve spent much of my life living out traditional values such as, work hard and be rewarded; be honest and loyal; be patient, caring, and giving; good things come to those who wait; trust in human nature and the goodness of your fellow man; give people the benefit of the doubt. Sure, these are all ways that the world should work, if everyone had a clear moral compass. But the fact is, many people do not, and this number is increasing daily.

Perhaps you’ve been like me, living with rose-colored glasses that are distorting your view of what’s really happening around you and to you. It’s time we take our blinders off. Without vigilant awareness of our surroundings, we will get mugged (metaphorically or literally). And so, we must be realists. Kind realists.

  1. Life is a game: be a player or get played. Whether it’s life experiences, mental illness, drugs, greed, or a score of other reasons, there are people in this world who operate from a place of exploitiveness. And you will undoubtedly cross paths with many of them. In fact, chances are, there are people in your life right now who will hurt you if you let them. The key is watching out for people like this. Don’t take everyone for face value. Search for what drives the people in your life. And surround yourself with those who share your moral compass.
  1. Competition at work, in relationships, and even in families is inevitable, so you better get your game face on. So much of life is a competition. We may wish that it wasn’t, but it is. If you step back and look at it, it’s clear. You’ve competed for your mate, your job, your friends, and social position. And now, you must fight to protect those things. Like it or not, we must continually and boldly confront our world head on, even the ugly and nasty sides of it.
  1. People are looking out for their own interests. And you should be too. Do you know what the most glorious word in the human language is to anyone alive today? According to relationship and life skills expert, Dale Carnegie, it’s their own name. People like themselves. And as a whole, humanity is selfish. While some people are wondering why life isn’t fair, others are seizing the moment. They’re not timid. They’re bold enough to step up and ask for what they want. And they ask again and again until they get it. The point is, if you don’t look out for your own best interests, who will?
  1. You train people how to treat you. In other words, people will treat you how you let them. In relationships, and life, you have to hold your own. You can do this while still being as sweet as a peach. Just remember, inside every peach there is a strong pit. And there is no way to hold your own while simultaneously accepting rude behavior. For example, there is no need to explain the obvious when someone is disrespectful towards you. In the words of Sherry Argov, “Truly powerful people don’t explain why they want respect. They simply don’t engage anyone who doesn’t give it to them.”
  1. Doing unto others as you wish they would do unto you doesn’t always get you what you want, need, or deserve. Again, this relates to seeing the world as it is and realizing that not everyone is as nice as you. Let’s replace the old adage with, “Do unto others, after they have proven they are worthy.”
  1. Only in a fairytale world does love conquer all. It’s a good story to tell, and it’s how we all wish the world was, but it is not the world we live in. A more accurate and relevant depiction might be, “Love conquers you, when you give all.”
  1. We are all taught to “love thy neighbor,” but perhaps, you ought to love yourself first. Then your neighbor will be much happier living beside you. You are no use to anyone unless you first help yourself. So remember this the next time you find yourself bending over backwards to meet others’ needs while neglecting your own.
  1. It is better to give and receive. Ever notice how nice people seem to give, give, and give yet they get nothing in return? This is because nice people invest in others, even when others aren’t investing in them. The result? They feel depleted, used, drained, and exhausted.

There are all kinds of people in this world, ranging from the sheltered and naïve, to the savvy and street smart. I want you to be the latter. And power begins by having a crystal clear view of how this world really works, while acknowledging that the world rewards action. We need to learn the actions that will help us to get what we want out of life and then, protect it.

Does this mean that you have to be a jerk in order to survive and thrive in our world? Of course not. But it does mean that you have to be selective with your time, energy, and kindness. The fault is not with you, nice folks, but with the world. To create the loving, respectful life that you desire, you have to know the rules of the game, and play by them. So let’s learn from the jerks without emulating them. They say, “All is well that ends well.” But reality is, all is well for those who cover their ends well. Happy playing!

10 Ways That Happy Couples Argue Differently

Every couple argues. The difference between a happy couple and an unhappy couple is the way in which they argue. In fact, according to Relationship Expert John Gottman, the single strongest predictor of whether or not a relationship will succeed or fail lies in the way the couple deals with conflict (Gottman, John Mordechai, and Nan Silver. The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work. New York: Crown, 1999 Print). Thus, in order to grow and be successful in our relationships, we must adopt healthy coping strategies for the difficulties that exist in them. Compatibility is not always key, but dealing with incompatibility is. Here I list 10 ways that happy couples argue differently.

  1. Commit to dealing with the problem. Often it can be easiest to run from conflict, especially if you’re a conflict avoidant person. But remember, this isn’t about you or whether or not you feel like dealing with the problem. It’s about what your relationship needs; so put those needs ahead of your own. Both partners must be fully committed to tackling their problems because running from conflict, won’t make it go away.
  2. Attack the problem, not the person. You have to remember that your partner is on your team. Always support one another, even when you don’t see eye to eye. Don’t take your frustrations out on the other person. Keep your focus on the problem and attack it together. When it comes to relationships and being right, always choose your relationship over being right.
  3. Practice intentional listening. Try to put yourself in your partner’s shoes. Even if you don’t understand where they are coming from, you can still respect it. Intentional listening means devoting your entire self towards the other. Turning your body towards them, looking them in the eyes, turning off the TV, and putting away your phone. These are all characteristics of intentional listening, which will ease the defensive barriers between you. It demonstrates that you actually want to hear what your partner has to say and breeds the sort of supportive environment that’s necessary for conflict resolution.
  4. Encourage honesty and transparency in communication. You can’t bite your partner’s head off for voicing their opinion and then expect them to continue to be honest with you about their feelings. Both verbally and behaviorally, encourage them to be honest and transparent with you. You do this by making them feel safe, with your words and actions. By letting them know, I will love you anyway.
  5. Get all of the facts. Nothing can be more damaging than jumping to conclusions without first getting all of the facts. Don’t waste your time or energy attacking the wrong problem. And before you go searching for a solution, make sure a problem actually exists. Check and double-check your facts.
  6. List all of the options. Approach your relationship problem just as you would one at work – objectively. Make a list of what your options are. This helps to keep emotions in check, personal bias out of the equation, and keeps your focus centered on the solution. While it might feel a bit silly, it’s never harmful to form a list of your options. It helps to clarify that the two of you are on the same page and demonstrates your commitment to finding a solution.
  7. Choose the best solution together. As you begin to decide on a solution, remember that you’re a team. Tackle this problem together; the two of you vs. it. Prioritize your relationship over being right and strategically choose a solution that benefits you both.
  8. Look for the positives. It can be easy in an argument to start focusing on the negative. Choose instead to look for positives. What can you learn from this situation? How can you grow from this conflict? In every challenge, there’s an opportunity. Find it.
  9. Let the other person save face. Even if you are right and your partner is dead wrong, you only destroy ego by causing another to lose face. You have no right to say or do anything that diminishes a man in his own eyes. After all, what matters most is not what you think of him, but what he thinks of himself. Always preserve the dignity of others. In an argument, always let the other person save face.
  10. Never withhold love. No matter how bad things get, never withhold love from your partner. Of course, you can tell them how you feel and express yourself, but make sure your love underlies it all. Love is the single most powerful change agent on the planet. So if you want to make some changes in your relationship, you’d be wise to never withhold it.

A Servant’s Heart: What Every Great Leader Knows

“If anyone would be first, he must be last of all and servant of all.” Mark 9:35

Although written in the Bible thousands of years ago, this truth has remained for generations. And it’s still relevant today. If you want to be great, you have to be like the least and a servant to all. It’s a truth that every great leader understands. If you’re reading this, chances are you consider yourself a leader, or at least aspire to one day do great things and be successful. I imagine this is a universal desire. While many people want to lead, not quite as many know how. Today, I’m going to let you in on a secret that every great leader knows well: what constitutes a servant’s heart.

When you think of servanthood, what comes to mind? Is it the livelihood of fairly low skilled people on the bottom of the totem pole? If this is what you think, you are poorly mistaken. Servanthood is not about a position or skill at all. It’s about an attitude. Many people are in the service industry yet have poor attitudes towards servanthood. We’ve all met them: the rude UPS worker, the frustrated government agency employee, or the annoyed waitress who can’t be bothered. Just as you can sense when a worker doesn’t want to help, so can you also easily detect when someone has a servant’s heart. Here I list 5 qualities that comprise the servant’s heart and nearly guarantee great leadership.

  1. Put others ahead of themselves. This is the beginning of servanthood. It is the ability to put other people and their desires above yourself and your own. You must be willing to put your personal agenda on hold, to be inconvenienced and interrupted for the sake of serving others. It means being intentionally aware of other people’s needs, making yourself available to them, and treating them with importance.
  2. Possess the confidence to serve. How we treat others is always a reflection of how we feel about ourselves. A servant’s heart is marked by security. He who thinks himself too good to serve, is insecure at his core. Only secure leaders can give power to others. They are confident enough in their own ability to help other people achieve their own.
  3. Initiate service to others. It isn’t saying much if you serve only when asked to or when you feel compelled. Just about anyone will serve when they feel like it. A leader with a servant’s heart initiates They anticipate needs, seize the opportunity, and serve without expecting or demanding anything in return.
  4. Is not position conscious. Leaders with a servant’s heart are not focused on their position or rank. They are not trying to “get ahead”, because this would entail leaving others behind. The true servant and leader is simply one person acting to help another. There are no hidden agendas or ulterior motives behind their work.
  5. Serves out of love. Finally, servanthood is not motivated by selfish desires or marked by manipulation. It is fueled by love. Your relationships depend on the depth of your concern for the other. When you have a servant’s heart, you are driven by love and serving others becomes second nature.

Why do you want to become a leader? Is it to benefit yourself and enjoy all of the perks that leadership brings? Or are you motivated by a desire to help others? If you want to become the kind of leader that others will follow, you will need to first become a servant. If you want to become successful on the highest level, you will need to be willing to serve on the lowest. That is the best, and only, way to form truly meaningful relationships, which are, might I add, the indisputable key to success.

The quickest way to become a servant is to start serving. Begin serving with your body and eventually your heart will catch up. Mother Teresa said it best when she said, “Not all of us can do great things. But we can all do small things with great love.” Overtime, these small things add up to be a big thing. Try to perform one small act of kindness each day. Better yet, make it your goal to make at least one person’s day, every day. If you want to become a great leader, you must first learn to be a great servant.

Why New Year’s Eve is Just Entirely Too Much Pressure

Maybe it’s just me but the holidays are a stressful time, with New Year’s Eve being perhaps the worst of all. It all starts with Halloween, the momentum builds as we approach the holiday season and things seem to rapidly progress from there. I’m usually so caught up with Thanksgiving and Christmas that I almost forget entirely about New Year’s Eve, leaving me to scramble for plans at the last minute. Personally, I find there to be entirely too much pressure surrounding the night for it to be even the least bit enjoyable.

Don’t get me wrong. I love a good gathering and excuse to celebrate. It’s just that when it comes to New Year’s Eve, the whole thing seems overrated. Expectations are so unreasonably high that they can’t possibly be met. This year, I’ve finally pinpointed exactly why I feel stressed on New Year’s Eve. I decided to share this list, in case there are others who share my sentiments about the holiday. I hope you know that you are not alone. Here are 10 reasons why New Year’s Eve is just entirely too much pressure.

  1. You’re forced to face the fact that you didn’t fulfill 90% of last year’s resolutions. The year is coming to a close, fast. Where did the time go? Wasn’t it just last January that you were making a list of all the ways you’d better your life and self in the coming year? Yes, it was just last January. And guess what? It’s about to be January again. The plain truth is that the older we get, the faster time flies. New Year’s Eve calls for our reflection on an entire year’s worth of successes and failures in one day. It’s all too much to process at once and frankly, it doesn’t seem healthy.

  1. You have to choose what party to attend. Choosing what party to attend on New Year’s Eve is the first of many anxiety-invoking decisions. There are far too many options. And no matter what you do, it won’t be good enough. There is always the chance that you missed out on something better. Trying to decide where you want to spend the last night of the year can really be a source of undue stress. And sadly, you do kind of have to make a decision, since packed cabs and lines outside the door make changing locations mid-party less than ideal.

  1. You have to choose who you want to spend it with. Aside from having to choose where you want to spend New Year’s Eve, you also have to choose with whom you want to spend New Year’s Eve. The two decisions are often heavily weighed against each other, since it’s not always where but who you’re with that counts. Still, when you have a lot of friends and they’re all going to different parties, you have to deal with the stress of choosing which crowd to go with, subliminally sending the message of who you care for most. Can’t we all just go to the same place?

  1. What you will wear. Choosing an outfit for New Year’s Eve is undoubtedly more stressful than it needs to be. Inevitably, you have packed on a couple pounds through all the recent holiday celebrations and feasts. Your favorite party dress just doesn’t fit right. Your girlfriends ask you all day long what you’re going to wear. You’re supposed to be festive, sparkling, and sweet. The perfect blend of sultry and class. Not to mention the weather this time of year in most places is awful. How are you supposed to achieve such perfection with your wardrobe, when it’s 28 degrees outside? Besides, if we’re being honest, we all end up in cheap party hats and beads by the end of the night, anyway.

  1. Your “go-to” spots are always packed. Say you’re not having much fun at the party you choose and you decide you’d like to go to your favorite local bar instead. You always have a good time there. Well, guess what? On New Year’s Eve, you can’t get in! Suddenly, it’s almost unrecognizable. Your local hangout resembles nothing short of a New Jersey Nightclub. It’s packed to the wall and the security (when did they get security?!) is telling you it’s, “One in, one out.” You want nothing more than to enjoy a good beer at your place of comfort. But when your “go-to” spot is jam-packed full of strangers, there’s nothing comfortable about it at all.

  1. People ask you about your resolutions. As if it’s not bad enough that you’ve been confronting last year’s shortcomings all day by yourself, you’re expected to tell people about your new resolutions all night. Those of us who are honest want to scream back, “I don’t know! I haven’t even followed through on my ones from last year!!” Or, for the more self-aware crowd, perhaps something along the lines of, “I want to be more accepting of myself, so I’m not making any.” We’re already facing the fact that we didn’t meet our own expectations. Do we really have to have other people rub it in our face all night?

  1. Social media. Adding to the pressure of New Year’s Eve, perhaps more now than ever before, is social media. At the click of a button, you can see pictures of all the fabulous parties your friends are attending, the tropical islands they’re visiting, and how much cuter their outfit is. Not to mention the pressure you feel to take your own pictures and show off how much fun you’re having, too. You wouldn’t want anyone to think you’re home alone on New Year’s, right?!? The irony is that you can’t be present in the moment and on social media at the same time. So those people posting pictures probably aren’t having as much fun as they would like you to think. And if you want to have more fun, you should probably put your phone away. Just remember, nothing is what it seems. And that’s especially the case when it comes to social media.

  1. The countdown. If you luck out and are having a blast wherever you end up on New Year’s Eve (as you should be!), there’s always the inevitable countdown pressure. It’s easy to lose track of time on the last night of the year because time flies when you’re having fun. But leave it to our culture to intertwine fun with pressure. Just as you’re beginning to loosen up and finally enjoy yourself, there’s still the relentless, nagging pressure of the countdown. I mean, what if you’re in the bathroom when it happens?! What if you’re in the middle of pouring a drink? What if you miss it? Honestly, the very thought of a crowd loudly counting backwards from 10-1 is enough to put me in the bathroom, if I wasn’t there already.

  1. The midnight kiss. The pressure of kissing someone at midnight on New Year’s Eve is perhaps the worst pressure of all. It’s bad enough for couples as they scramble to find each other at the last minute for a sloppy, public kiss. But for single people, it’s an utter nightmare. What if you don’t like any one at the party? Are you a lonely outcast if you don’t ring in the New Year in your lover’s arms? Of course not! But society would have you think so. The stigma surrounding this infamous New Year’s kiss is simply outrageous. Personally, I’d rather ring in the New Year in the arms of someone I know and trust (me), then waste some meaningless kiss on a boy I’ll never hear from again.

  1. The inevitable New Year’s Day hangover. All of this hype and stress over a night of drinking that only leads to an awful next day hangover. Why?! I can’t understand the logic. Who wants to spend the first day of 2015 feeling ill in bed? We set all these goals and promise to make the next year better for ourselves. But how in the world are we expected to feel motivated if we begin the New Year with a massive hangover? Talk about getting off to a bad start.

I think we all need to chill out about New Year’s Eve. The world won’t end if you have a bad night. Your year won’t be miserable just because you choose to stay at home. You aren’t doomed to a life of loneliness if you skip the midnight kiss. In fact, for most of us, New Year’s Eve, will have no impact whatsoever on our upcoming year. So why do we give it so much power? I think we should treat New Year’s Eve just like any other night, because it is. Maybe then we’ll actually be able to enjoy the last day of the year, for once.

How Social Media Has Screwed Our Definition of “Cool” and 5 Things We Think Are Cool, That Really Aren’t at All

How do you define “cool”? Webster’s Dictionary defines it as, “fashionably attractive or impressive.” But that seems rather relative, don’t you think? I mean who defines what’s fashionably attractive or impressive? And what is our culture’s obsession with wanting to be “cool”?

As if the “cool” concept wasn’t already complicated enough, now, thanks to Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and the like, we are watching what is “cool” unfold, transform, and solidify right before our very eyes. Everyday images on our computers and iPhones are infiltrating our minds and heavily influencing, even manipulating, our thoughts. We see pictures of celebrities rocking an eclectic haircut then we go out and get it because we think it’s cool. We see our friends rocking a particular fashion style, everybody is doing it, and so it must be cool! Without a doubt, social networking sites have screwed up our already skewed definition of “cool”. So, using these same social networking sites, I’ve set out to inform the public of 5 things we think are “cool”, that really aren’t at all.

  1. Celebrities. Now let me be clear, certainly a celebrity can be cool, but their celebrity status alone doesn’t make it so. The problem is, we tend to assume that a celebrity is “cool” when in reality we know nothing about him/her as a person. Granted, many celebrities are also trendsetters and that can be cool, but not if their taste is bad! …Or their morals… behaviors…hearts… At the end of the day, their character, just like ours, trumps all. And unless you know them personally, it’s doubtful you could know their character.

celebrity

  1. Money. Money isn’t cool! It’s a commodity, a method of trade. So why do we assume because a person has money they must be cool?! Again, it’s social media that’s throwing us off here. We see them on a yacht, travelling high seas, doing big things, and we think, “Hey! That’s cool!” Which it is. But that doesn’t mean the person doing those things is.

money

  1. Exclusivity. Exclusivity seems to be all the rage these days. Exclusive clubs, exclusive parties, exclusive events, exclusive invites. It’s absurd. I get that it’s human nature to want what you can’t have, and perhaps that explains why we think exclusive things are “cool”, but really?! Exclusive is the opposite of inclusive, and in my book- that’s not cool.

exclusive

  1. Fame. How cool does never being alone for the rest of your life sound to you? Yea…not cool at all.

famous

  1. Popularity. We assume when someone is popular that they must be cool. But what if this person has so many “friends” because they can’t be alone? That’s not cool. To go even further, what if this person is an addict or an alcoholic and that’s the reason they are always partying and out on the town? Again, Not cool.

popular

Which brings us full circle. The point is we should never assume a person is “cool” just because he/she is a celebrity, has money, goes to exclusive parties, is famous, or popular, or any other reason for that matter. Especially when we only know that person via social media (i.e. We haven’t seen them in many years, or worse, we’ve never met them at all).

Only you know what matters and what doesn’t in your character preferences. So you are the only one who can define what “cool” means to you. No one and nothing else can do that for you. In the same way, we must each individually define who is cool, through the only means possible, by getting to know the person…which you cant do on social media, might I add.

And while I’m at it, the number of “likes” you have, has nothing to do with how “cool” you are either. But that’s another article for another day.

So don’t let social media screw with your head. Remove your blinders and always remember that you are an individual, and for that, you are cool.

5 Beauty Products No Woman Should Be Without (Some of These May Surprise You)

It has been reported that women spend nearly $426 billion on beauty products alone every year. That’s over a billion dollars a day! Imagine how much you could save with the use of a little creativity. Did you know some of the best beauty products are fairly cheap and can double in their uses? There’s no need to spend all your time scouring the isles for your makeup and hair needs, or rushing out to buy the latest and greatest marketed beauty wonder. Simply stock up on the items in this list, and begin to enjoy saving. These five beauty products are things that no woman should be without. In fact, chances are, you may already own a few of these items and you just have yet to take advantage of all of their benefits. Vaseline

1. Vaseline. Most people know that Vaseline makes for excellent chapstick. It’s one of the purest forms of moisturizer. But did you know that you can use Vaseline on your nails to prevent those painful hangnails? Or how about around your eyes before bed to avoid those pesky wrinkles? My friend’s mom is over fifty years old, with no wrinkles or fine lines on her face. She swears by her nightly Vaseline routine. Forget nail cure formulas and anti wrinkle night creams, good ole Vaseline works better than any one of those.

Witch Hazel

2. Witch Hazel. The label says use for relief of minor skin irritations, cuts, scrapes, and insect bites. But did you know it makes for an excellent toner? Use Witch Hazel as part of your daily facial skincare routine and watch its magic unfold. Witch Hazel serves as the perfect balanced toner, getting the job done of tightening your pores and removing oil, without drying out your skin. It can also be used to heal damaged skin from too much sun exposure and soothe razor burn! The best part? It’s only $3.19 for a 16oz bottle at Walmart!

tea tree oil

3. Tea Tree Oil. Tea Tree Oil is a little known beauty secret that serves in a variety of ways. It’s great for getting rid of acne, scars, and just about any other pesky skin blemish you can think of. I have even heard that this little magic oil can get rid of warts when used consistently! You can find it at your local natural health food store. Just be sure you buy the organic kind, as many brands have tried to rip it off.

Manuka Honey

4. Manuka Honey. Though it’s on the pricier side for a jar of honey, this stuff is so worth it! Spread the honey over your face and leave it on for ten minutes as a mask. When you wash it off, your face will feel younger, fresher, and healthier almost instantly. The power lies in Manuka Honey’s antibacterial agents. These same properties make Manuka Honey an effective treatment for wounds, infections, and stomach aches. This honey is also great at fighting colds and sore throats. Simply stir one spoonful of Manuka honey into your tea or hot lemon drink, and stop the cold dead in its tracks.

Apple Cider Vinegar

5. Apple Cider Vinegar. Apple Cider Vinegar is one thing that you should always have in the house. Not only does it work to shorten the duration of colds when mixed with a glass of orange juice or warm water, but you can also take shots of this solution throughout the day for an instant, natural boost of energy. The vinegar can also be used as a rinse after shampooing to dramatically increase your hair’s shine. You can rub it on your teeth and rinse to help remove stains. The uses for Apple Cider Vinegar are endless. Basically, this miracle product is effective for just about anything- your hair, skin, health. It’s certainly one thing that no home should be without.